Aucklanders asked to look out for red-vented bulbul birds

6 September 2005

Biosecurity New Zealand is asking Aucklanders, and particularly those in Devonport and the central city, to keep an eye out for a pair of red-vented bulbul birds that have recently been sighted in the area.

The birds, native to parts of Asia, are one of the world's most invasive species, and are common in other parts of the Pacific, particularly Fiji and suburban Sydney. They are very active noisy brown birds that are dark in colour with a light-coloured abdomen and a distinctive crimson patch beneath their tails. They also have a black head with a small peaked crest.

Red-vented bulbuls can cause significant damage to fruit and vegetable crops and aggressively chase and attack other birds, and Biosecurity New Zealand (BNZ) is concerned that a population may establish in Auckland that could affect residents' gardens, native vegetation and birdlife. BNZ is working with the Department of Conservation and Auckland Regional Council to track the birds and eradicate them.

BNZ Senior Adviser Sonya Bissmire says the sooner the birds are dealt with the better, as they may be about to breed.

"In the 1950s a small population of about 50 red-vented bulbuls became established between Takapuna and Mt Eden after some were released from a ship. It took until 1955 for them to be eradicated.

"It has been illegal to import these birds since the late 1960s. It is not known how the recently-sighted birds arrived in Auckland, but they may also have been released from a yacht or ship arriving in Auckland from elsewhere in the Pacific," she says.

Biosecurity New Zealand is asking anyone who spots a red-vented bulbul to call the MAF Exotic Disease and Pest Emergency Hotline on 0800 80 99 66 to report its location as soon as possible.

Media contact: Phil Barclay Senior Communications Adviser Biosecurity New Zealand 027 229 9145.



Last Updated: 28 September 2010

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